Earns its “R” rating: salacious, scandalous sex (ancient Rome’s Tiberius, a distant second) voracious drug use; total absence of accountability and bereft of a moral compass; debauchery, greed, Olympian ambition, addiction; based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, the “wolf” whose heroic rise to millions, and ultimate collapse is depicted in the film, based on the book he wrote, while serving less than two years, in a federal penitentiary.
Director Martin Scorsese plummets audiences for three hours with excessive, exhausting raunchiness; an exposé of baseness, crassness, turpitude unlikely to be matched, or forgotten.
Leonardo DiCaprio is sublime as the shameless visionary whose mantra was “the best way ethically to persuade anyone to do anything”,” or “do not hang up until they buy or die”; devoid of ethics, Belfort founded the firm of “Stratton Oakmont” ( late 80’s), at its peak, employing over a thousand brokers; his inspirational, rabble-rousing speeches, surpass “Gordon Gekko”; mesmerizing mania; employees writhing, salivating, cheering, lusting for more; celebratory orgies, where privacy is anathema, decency de classe, humiliation reigns; gluttons, in the quest of exorbitant, fraudulent financial gain; conspicuous consumption on steroids, “Quaaludes”.
Jonah Hill, terrifically-matched with DiCaprio, is “Donnie Azoff”, a neophyte attracted to Jordan’s messianic aura; introduces Belfort to drugs and they soar; their plastic-plated IPO’s, stratospherically climb, as their dignity, boundaries, human decency plunge, at nose-bleed velocity; their gargantuan wealth, instead of awakening a sensitivity for the have-not’s, fuels an egregious elitism, defining themselves by their purchasing power; sickening arrogance, vulgar displays of erotic behavior, coke-snorting, alcoholic, barbarians. The veracity of the story is inconceivable .
Margot Robbie, as Jordan’s second wife “Nadine”, holds her own with megastar DiCaprio; Nadine is gorgeous, at times clueless, but with an innate sense of intelligence and cunning. As Jordan tumbles into inevitable liability, the marriage falters; a remarkable scene evolves from intense intimacy to blatant violence, Nadine the pyrrhic victor.
Jordan Belfort, phoenix-like, continues to rise from the ashes of his despicable existence; presently a “motivational speaker”, author, talk show celebrity; owing millions in reparation, the government will deduct 50% of his yearly income for life. DiCaprio gifts him an insouciant charm but nothing can mask the untold, unmitigated damage he did to his unsuspecting clients and in tandem to a legitimate profession that has benefitted countless corporations, municipalities, and individuals.
“The Wolf of Wall Street” continues to crawl, lurk on the periphery of acceptability; pouncing on the unsuspecting; all should be wary, people of his ilk can be irresistible, magnetic and poisonous.
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!